A Walk in the Dark

Jane Godwin

A Walk in the Dark
Hachette Australia
31 August 2022

A Walk in the Dark

Jane Godwin

‘It’s just a walk in the dark. What is there to worry about?’

That’s what the head teacher, Johan, says. And so the Year Nines from Otway Community School set out on an overnight hike, with no adults.

But doesn’t Johan know that a storm is coming?

When five teenagers head in to the forest that late afternoon, none of them is aware what the night will bring. Each will have to draw on their particular strengths to survive. Each will have to face the unknown, battling the elements, events beyond their control, and their own demons. It’s a night that will change everything.

Set in the lush rainforest of Victoria’s Otway Ranges, A Walk in the Dark is about friendship, trust, identity and family, consent and boundaries, wrapped in a compulsively readable, suspense-filled adventure.

Five head into the forest, but will all five make it out?


Five teenagers are on a night walk in the Otway Ranges. With no adults supervising, this is their chance to prove their capabilities to themselves. After all, as their principal says, it’s just a walk in the dark, what’s there to worry about? As it turns out, rather a lot.

On top of unexpected storms and unpleasant strangers, the teens each have their own separate battles to fight. Fred’s self-destructive behaviour tips over into being more generally destructive; Ellie, the nominated leader, feels the pressure of leading the group while also being responsible for Chrystal, the slightly odd American exchange student she’s hosting; Ash, who works hard to be one of the good guys, is struggling with feelings of resentment that Ellie was chosen as leader instead. How can he be one of the good guys if he’s upset a woman was chosen to lead? Meanwhile Laila, who lives in a treehouse and whose dad is an internationally renowned guru, takes a surprisingly passive role for reasons only she knows.

Like all the best wilderness survival stories, A Walk in the Dark is a book where the protagonists emerge from the wild as changed people. As the reader, you follow them through life-and-death situations, cheering their personal growth as much as you’re cheering for their survival. Fantastically tense in places, A Walk in the Dark is a great read for all kids ages 11+.

Dani Solomon is the manager of Readings Kids

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